Celebrate Songkran in Southeast Asia
It's basically one giant water fight. The belief here is that water washes away bad luck, and so it's actually a benevolent act when someone throws an ice-cold bucket of water on your head -- whether a passerby on the street or a person armed with buckets from a flat-bed truck. It's also similarly an act of kindness when you're attacked by water pistols. Plus -- and I would imagine, somewhat separately from dousing zones -- there are beauty contests. I'm going to be in Thailand over this festival, and so I'm going to be sure to pack plenty of plastic baggies for my phone and camera, etc. Heck, I'm ready to have any potential bad luck washed away, and it all sounds much less messy than the Indian holiday Holi, where celebrants throw paint.
Learn more about Songkran here, and if you want to catch the festivities in person, several Orient Express hotels in Southeast Asia are offering Water Festival packages. I like the chill sounds of the package offered by La Residence d'Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which includes a a one hour meditation session in the Kong Kea spa and a sunset tour to Tonle Sap Lake followed by a monk blessing. ($280 per night.)
But if you're more of a party animal than I, you'll want to head to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, where Songkran is apparently celebrated with the most gusto. Check out these Songkran photos to get more of an idea of the sopping wet festivities. I wonder if this festivity will put a damper (sorry!) on the political protests that Thailand has been experiencing of late.